By Jenny Perez, Executive Director, Herbalife Nutrition Foundation
The ability to quickly adapt to change is a key aspect of running any successful organization. However, in times of crisis, that change can often come quicker than the organization and its stakeholders could imagine. Unfortunately, for nonprofit organizations and their beneficiaries, the COVID-19 global crisis has drastically changed the world. The need in our communities is greater. However, the opportunities for raising much needed funds have been hampered by social restrictions. So how does a nonprofit organization keep their donors engaged in times of crisis?
Communicating with our stakeholders is an integral part of telling our story. In a normal operating environment, we share with people who know us and those who don’t, who we are and what we do. We explain our challenges and needs, and we celebrate our successes with thanks to donors for their collective support.
But our story, much like the operating environment, has now morphed. We have quickly recognized the need to change how and what we communicate. We understand that donors are being bombarded with information about all the current needs in our society. So rather than get lost in the noise, we are finding a balance of increasing communication without being overwhelming, through impactful storytelling – where donors can clearly see the need and the impact of their donation. And, we are adjusting the way we raise funds, while continuing to lend support to the organizations that have been a part of our flagship program.
We also understand that there are many who will undoubtedly rise to the occasion, even before we can ask for a helping hand. And for that, we are grateful.
Our focus at the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation is simple and globally unifying – help bring nutrition to children and families in underserved communities around the globe. So, with donors spread throughout the world, engaging with them can sometimes be a challenge, but that is something we’ve adapted to, and now relish in that global reach.
The challenge we are facing today as a result of COVID-19 is that we are an event-driven organization that raises 90% of funds from events, to one where events have been eliminated. So, since we are limited on the ability to host events and gatherings, and failing our communities is not an option, we must adapt and move forward.
Thanks to technology, we found a way to offer peer-to-peer fundraising tools that allow those who want to help, to create their own fundraisers. Donors can share heartwarming videos about why the cause means so much to them. They can inspire others by snapping photos of their outreach. Without social media, it would be much more difficult to bring a global audience together, to share in our collective work and our reach, helping so many along the way.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
English poet John Donne famously wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” These words are evident in the way people have come together to support each other in these critical times, and the way organizations have stepped up or partnered with others to lend a hand to those in need.
Our partner organizations around the world are doing amazing work and setting examples of how adaptation in times of crisis can be done right – from changing the way they operate daily, to offering services to more than children. For example, SOS’s Children’s Villages is working to educate and reduce the spread of COVID-19, offering psychosocial support and alternative childcare in developing countries. Other organizations like Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA), are helping provide meals to children and families who otherwise would go without, while also working to provide adequate technology to students who are now studying from home.
This is who we are and what we do. We adapt and we overcome. We use technology to help us tell our story. And our story will be shared again and again, helping us not only to raise awareness, but allowing us to collect funds that will make an impact in the lives of children and families, all around the globe.